Ava died in her sleep on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
For twelve years she was the littlest lady in our household.
Never “just a dog” . . . Ava was more human than canine. And attitude! Ava had attitude.
I brought her home from the breeder, and we lived in Mimi’s basement apartment. Mimi was staunchly against dogs ever living inside a house . . . but I’d leave for work and most days find that either Ava had been upstairs all day, or been “checked on” a good 20 times. Mimi’s living room still had carpet those days, and she laughed, laughed so very hard, to see this fiesty three pound animal race rings around the living room. The ottoman as obstacle course.
The living room has changed now . . . the carpet is gone, the furniture is different . . . but I still see Ava “going Nascar” round and round, the excited yips and the tiny claws making perky little ripping sounds from gripping the carpet at full racing speed.
We moved to the Cornfields, and Ava endured snowfalls that required a path be shovelled, else she would disappear into a depth two or three times her own height. She loved to lounge on the kitchen floor, at the sunny sliding door. Until the Cornfields, she had never known a leash life, but we had tons of walking trails in our community, and while Coco made an absolute fool of herself and fought and pulled every step of our walks . . . Ava was the most ladylike gait, trotting, prancing, head up and fluffy ears jaunty.
We moved back home a few years ago, and Ava returned to the house in which she had grown up. She no longer lived in the apartment . . . now the living room she’d raced around was her domain. Turkeys walk through the woods, the yard, down the driveway every day, and frequently when taking the dogs “out”, there they would be. Ava would take flight down the wooden ramp, barking, chasing . . TREEING the turkeys!
Coco was a coward . . . but Ava charged.
Right around the time we learned that we were in predicament with Minion . . . Ava began to have several accidents. One of Ava’s “charms” was a vengeful little willingness to have the last word. I was dizzy and uncomfortable, nauseous all the time, and having to bend down and clean the spots, when the scent (or even thought) of the cleaning chemicals made me want to swallow a whole bottle of Zofran . . . well, it was NOT my favorite.
For a dog who was dependably well with her house-training, it was very uncharacteristic. So we saw the vet to ascertain if she had a bladder infection, etc. When the accidents continued, I wondered if it was her canine sense that I was in the predicament and she was jealous, or whatever inclination that would lead her to lash out at me. We tried Prozac. That’s my girl.
By the time Minion arrived, we were told that she had a very aggressive bladder cancer and that she wouldn’t live past three more months.
But then . . . she survived six months, then one year, then 18 months. Obviously at this point the doctor revisited her diagnosis . . . since she was still alive, the tests began again. NOW, she found, the cancer drugs that she’d prescribed Ava . . . had affected her kidneys.
The drugs changed . . and we were given an IV bag of fluids to try to flush her kidneys by loading her up with an ounce or two (this made a huge bubble under her skin) every once or twice a week.
Poor Ava had never stopped having accidents. She could be taken outside, she would make her piddle, do exactly what she should do out there, and yet you let her walk to the water/food dishes, and in less than two minutes there would be more puddles in your house. If she did not sit on Knobby’s lap, then she lived in little square laundry baskets with a velour blanket, or a towel when it was too hot for velour.
It wasn’t a great life for her to live at this point. Shame at making accidents in the house, relegated to a laundry basket that would be ferried around the house. The accidents being so frequent, that she’d ultimately be left laying on a wet blanket beacuse it was instantaneous.
Those blankets . . . smelled so horrible. Poor Ava did smell like cancer, and those blankets . . . those blankets intensified the smell. Her bedding was kept separate from laundry, and each Ava load got a full sanitary cycle, maybe even two.
You felt so sorry, so guilty . . . she wasn’t made to be cooped up like this, our little lady.
But boy, did she love her daddy. Despite the worst, she would always lick his nose with “kisses”. And while I always tried to get him to leave her in the basket next to our bed while we slept (because of the accidents) . . . he’d never allow it. “I can’t do that to my Ava.”
We rejoice that you no longer suffer. That you are no longer contained. Yes, we rejoice that wherever you are now, you’re probably frolicking in fields, chasing fun, and commanding what the others will do. In death, you get to LIVE again!
Your daddy will bury you on Turkey Hill. Back to where you began your life . . . and now you can keep your eye on us, AND chase those turkeys every day.
We love you, Ava. There will never be another lady like you.